Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Habs Overseas Prospects, Taylor Hall in AHL, Devin Setoguchi in ECHL, More

Alexander Ovechkin Alexander Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals is introduced during the Honda NHL SuperSkills competition part of 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend at the RBC Center on January 29, 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Good AM hockey fans!

So, what have you been doing with NHL hockey still in the dark?

I have been paying close attention to the American presidential election — after all, I am American. But, sporting wise, I've found no adequate replacement for my beloved Habs.

What about you? Have you gotten your hockey fix elsewhere or have you shifted your focus somewhere else?

Habs and Hockey News

- HabsWorld, which always has excellent prospect coverage, takes a look at Montreal Canadiens prospects playing in Europe.

- Taylor Hall has been cleared to join the AHL's Oklahoma Barons while Devin Setoguchi has signed with the ECHL's Ontario (Calfiornia) Reign.

- The Washington Capitals new head coach, Adam Oates, is slated to join the farm team in Hershey. An odd experiment, as ESPN's Scott Burnside points out.

- Ryan Kennedy looks at some of the NCCA-eligibility issues faced by the newly formed CHLPA.

(Photo via Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NHL Winter Classic In Peril, Wayne Simmonds, HA Mailbag, More

Honestly, I never thought it would come to this point.

But now it truly appears that the NHL Winter Classic — as well as the rest of the season — is in serious jeopardy.

In fact, a formal cancellation is expected on Friday.

326 games have already been cancelled.

Habs and Hockey News

- We are going to feature a mailbag segment later this week where we — Kamal, Sean and myself — will discuss whatever you throw our way, so be sure to drop us a line via Twitter.

- With the season in peril, Stu Hackel lays the blame on the league and its "take it or leave it" approach to negotiations.

- Former NHLPA director Paul Kelly believes expansion could help end the current labor stalemate.

- Wayne Simmonds was victim of racist remarks while playing in a Czech League contest.

(Photo from Wikipedia/AndrewHorne)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lars Eller in Finland, Hamilton Bulldogs, Wheeling Nailers, More

Lars Eller - Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal CanadiensGood morning hockey fans!

You can now add Lars Eller to the list of players who have opted to play in Europe.

The Danish forward is set to join defending Finnish champions JYP Jyvaskyla. He will line up alongside Rich Peverley as well as former NHLers Ramzi Abid and Éric Perrin.

Finland also appears to be the destination of choice for Denmark's top players, with Philip Larsen, Mikkel Boedker and Frans Nielsen currently playing for Lukko Rauma.

Habs and Hockey News

- The Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Abbotsford Heat by a 2-1 score on Sunday night. Blake Geoffrion and Aaron Palushaj provided the goals for their side. Earlier in the weekend, Brendan Gallagher also scored his first professional goal in an overtime loss to the Toronto Marlies. HabsWorld has a full recap of the weekend's action.  

- Down in the ECHL, the Wheeling Nailers won their weekend set against the Reading Royals, winning 3-2 and 7-3

- Winnipeg Jets' forward Blake Wheeler is bound for Munich in the German Elite League.

- It appears that HC Mountfield of the Czech Extraliga has acquired Milan Michalek, Martin Hanzal and Vinny Prospal in one fell swoop.

- More and more, the KHL is positioning itself as a viable pan-European league. Next year a Milan, Italy based squad is set to join the circuit

(Photo via Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

CHLPA Vs. Mooseheads, Sunday Shinny Podcast, Bettman Underrated Fehr? And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

I'm going to step away from the NHL labor negotiations for the moment. We are all aware that there have been no recent developments and with no talks scheduled there is very little reason to believe there will be any significant progress in the near future.

And with that, let's talk the CHLPA. It seems there isn't enough drama in hockey right now and so the newly formed CHLPA has decided to make itself known.

With the intentions of  assuring better education programs and fair pay wages to the players, the CHLPA lead by executive director Georges Laraque has taken action against the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads.

The Mooseheads are under fire from the CHLPA due to "violations of labor, pension and employment rules". Mooseheads majority owner Bobby Smith expressed his concern over his players' own concerns but maintained that " I feel we treat our players extremely well...".

The CHLPA has stated that they prefer not to litigate and would like to bring the CHL to the bargaining table.

Habs And Hockey News

- Here's a link to this morning's Sunday Shinny with Gary Whittaker, Nick Murdocco, Amand Stein and myself where we discussed the CHLPA, Andre Harvey's 10 year suspension from coaching after assaulting a 16 year old player, Pat Hickey's fantasy league and more.

- Is it possible Gary Bettman and co. have underestimated Donald Fehr?

- Many players feel the cancellation of the November schedule is simply a scare tactic.

- Habs Eyes On The Prize continues their coverage of the Habs prospects and players overseas.

- Ryan Suter has followed new teammate Zach Parise's lead in sharing his frustration after signing a 13 year $98 million contract.

(Photo by None/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

St.Louis Angry, Coach K's "What If?", Gionta On The Lockout And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

Alas, there will be no NHL hockey in November. Just two weeks ago there was a wave of optimism after the NHL made their 50/50 offer with the potential of the season starting on November second, a full 82 game season at that.

Fast forward two weeks and yet another 191 games have been erased from the 2012-13 campaign. With the NHL all-star game and winter classic most likely to be the next games to be stricken from the season it's beginning to look like the entire season will be lost.

Hopefully I'm getting ahead of myself. I have been trying to stay as positive as possible through this whole ordeal, but there is only so long I can follow this mess with an with a hopeful attitude.

The longer this mess continues the more you have to wonder what will become of some of the players. There are some who may actually follow through with Ovechkin's threats and stay overseas when the two sides reach an agreement.

What bothers me more however is what might happen with players like Martin Brodeur, Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne, Daniel Alfredsson and Martin St. Louis.

After the amazing careers the mentioned players have had over the years it would be quite a shame to see them retire due to an egotistical standoff between the two sides.

Puck Daddy had a piece focusing on St. Louis that clearly shows how frustrated and angry the older players must be feeling. St. Louis stated that with each passing day he is coming closer to finding somewhere else to play.

With a trophy case that includes an Art Ross Trophy, A Hart Trophy and a Lester B. Pearson Trophy all from the 2003-04 season, two back to back Lady Byng Trophies  (2009-10, 10-11) and a Stanley Cup win in 2004, it would be quite a shame to see him finish his career somewhere other than the NHL.

You can argue that at 37 he still has a few years in him, heck Selanne still plays at a high level and he's 109, but you have to wonder how many of these veterans will even bother coming back after being through so many labor disputes. People do tend to get bitter and cranky as they age.

Habs And Hockey News

- Coach K returns with another "What If?" this time asking, what if the NHL strikes back?

-  Dave Stubbs speaks to Habs Captain Brian Gionta about, among other things, the lockout. But not before reassuring us that the injury Andrei Markov sustained in Russia is not another knee injury. (Insert collective sigh of relief here).

- Donald Fehr released a statement regarding the cancellation of games throught December 1st.

- Kevin Allen highlights the November schedule that will not be played.

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images North America)

Friday, October 26, 2012

NHL Withdraws Offer, Hamilton Bulldogs, Habs' CHL Prospects, More

Gary Bettman (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Happy Friday!

The October 25th deadline imposed the NHL for the scheduling of a complete, 82-game season has passed.

As a result, actual games will now be removed from the 2012-13 calendar and the NHL has withdrawn it's previous offer.

Both sides unfortunately seem quite distant on the subject of a new CBA.

Habs and Hockey News

- The Hamilton Bulldogs get set to face the Toronto Marlies tonight for the third time this season. The farm team lost Tuesday's contest against the Rochester Americans and will have to face their cross-province rivals without Louis Leblanc.

- HabsWorld reports on the progress of the Montreal Canadiens' CHL prospects.

- Amidst all the doom and gloom surrounding the CBA negotiations, Stu Hackel focuses in on some of the more positive news surrounding the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders.

- Russia's KHL was scheduled to play two regular season games in Brooklyn this January, but it now appears those games have been cancelled.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Barack Obama on Lockout, Full NHL Season Not Possible, Brooklyn, More

Good AM hockey fans!

Last night, during an appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, the current president took time to answer questions submitted from viewers and the audience.

Somewhat surprisingly for a Los Angeles based television program, one individual asked about the NHL lockout.

"You guys make money because you’ve got a whole bunch of fans out there who are working really hard — they buy tickets, they’re watching on TV" Obama pleaded to both owners and players.

Somehow, though, I doubt his influence will move these negotiations forward. In fact, Gary Bettman has now conceded that playing a full NHL season is not a reality and no meetings are planned for today.

The NHL has teams in five so-called "swing states" — Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Habs and Hockey 

- Stu Hackel questions the New York Islanders eventual move to Brooklyn.

- Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News argues that public perception of the league's lockout will eventually matter and impact the owners. Over at TSN, they wonder what enticements will be needed to bring disenchanted fans back.

- The Columbus Blue Jackets have hired long-time NHL broadcaster and executive John Davidson.

(Photo via NBC)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NHL-NHLPA Stalemate?, New York Islanders to Brooklyn, More

Bill Daly - Vancouver Canucks v Phoenix Coyotes
More posturing or a genuine stalemate?

With the league's deadline — October 25th — for a full season approaching, the NHLPA offered to meet with NHL officials today.

However, the league apparently refused to sit down with the players. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly suggested there was no clear agenda for the meeting and that the players were unwilling to negotiate.

In short, he wondered "What's the point?"

I frankly do not see how this can be simple posturing. Refusing to meet with the other side is definitely not going to be a public relations hit and Stu Hackel openly wonders if the NHL actually wants to end the lockout. Pierre LeBrun argues that egos are getting in the way.

On top of that, Tobias Enstrom, Patrick Kane and Niklas Backstrom have all fled for Europe in recent days. If it was believed the lockout was nearing its end, I'm not sure such prominent players would be heading to Europe at this point. 

What do you think? Genuine stalemate or is there still hope?

Habs and Hockey News

- Wow. The New York Islanders are no more. Sort of. The team is set to announced that they will be moving to the Barclays Arena in Brooklyn, New York after the 2014-15 season

- HabsWorld wraps up its prospect rankings, revealing the top-five Montreal Canadiens prospects

- David Clarkson, of the New Jersey Devils, may be joining Tobias Enstrom and others in the Austrian EBEL League.

(Photo Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sergei Kostitsyn Speaks, Montreal Teams, NHL and NHLPA Quiet, More

Sergei Kostitsyn - Nashville Predators v Phoenix Coyotes - Game Two
Good AM hockey fans!

Sergei Kostisyn has done well as a member of the Nashville Predators. A player in the 45-50 point range for the Tennessee team, he has been one of their better offensive producers in the regular season.

But I'll bet a lot of Montreal fans remembered why he got traded yesterday.

According to The Globe and Mail, the Belarussian forwards claims that it would be better for the lockout to drag on and that he can not adapt to North American mentalities.

Not exactly spark-plug comments, but if he were still playing in the fishbowl environment of the Montreal Canadiens, this would add another unnecessary distraction to the team.

Habs and Hockey News

- TSN's John Bartlett looks at some other teams garnering attention in the Montreal area.

- Tomas Plekanec, who is the third best scorer amongst overseas NHLers, is enjoying his experience in Kladno but is looking forward to return to Montreal.

- Alex Galchecnyuk is picking up his game with the Sarnia Sting after missing most of last season.

- No CBA talks are scheduled as the NHL's Thursday deadline approaches. According to the league, after October 25th, it will not be possible to salvage a full 82-game season.

- Ken Campbell insists the NHL must not have a misguided sense of urgency regarding cramming in an 82-game schedule and needs to get the CBA right.

- Elsewhere, Kevin Allen presents his list of ten things that need to happen for the lockout to end.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hamilton Bulldogs Split Two, Wheeling Nailers, NHL and NHLPA talks, More

Good AM!

Although the NHL is still without players on the ice, the AHL schedule has gotten well underway.

The Hamilton Bulldogs played two games over the weekend against their cross-province rivals, the Toronto Marlies.

While the Habs' farm team took the first game 4-1, they fell harshly in the second contest, losing 0-5.

Louis Leblanc and Aaron Palushaj currently lead the team in scoring with two goals a piece.

Habs and Hockey News

- The ECHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, the Wheeling Nailers, have not fared very well. They are goaless this season and lost their weekend games against Reading and Elmira.

- HabsWorld has a full report on the last week of action for the Hamilton Bulldogs and Wheeling Nailers.

- The NHL and NHLPA are still talking, but not necessarily negotiating. Apparently, representatives on both sides of the lockout had telephone conversations on Sunday but those talks have yet to translate into concrete negotiations

- After a thirty-day stint in Germany's 2nd division, Wayne Simmonds and Chris Stewart are moving to the top league in the Czech Republic.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Habs Overseas, Labor Conflicts In Sports, Fehr Dedicated To Players And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

It is only a matter of time before these morning updates become strictly lockout related. As the stoppage in hockey continues it gets tougher to find stories that don't include the labor negotiations.

It is for this reason that I will focus the main part of this mornings news on the Habs overseas and their prospects. Andrew berkshire of Habs Eyes On The Prize has been following the play of Canadiens players overseas as well as their rising talents and has been keeping track of their progress.

With no Habs hockey to watch so far this season and their players and prospects spread out around the world and it's many leagues it's tough to keep an eye on them.

Berkshire has made that quite easy with his weekly updates by documenting their week's stats and keeping track of their season totals. While the piece makes it easy to keep up with what's going on in Habs world, it would be much simpler if they were playing together on the Habs roster.

Habs And Hockey News

- Deepak Malhotra teaches negotiation at Harvard Business School and writes an interesting piece on the labor negotiations. In his article he explains why there are so many conflicts in pro sports.

- Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period seems optimistic that we will see NHL hockey sooner rather than later.

- The New York Post's Larry Brooks is less optimistic as he claims all Bettman is interested in is shutting down the NHL.

- Here is an interesting and informative look at they type of man Donald Fehr is, and why he is the right man to be backing the players.

- Ben Eager of the Edmonton Oilers seems to be taking is frustration out on bouncers, way to go Ben. Please note the sarcasm in my typing.

(Photo by Source: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

More Games Cancelled, Fehr's Latest Letter, Coach K's "What If?" And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

Here's a quick recap of the labor negotiations over the past week. On Tuesday, Bettman and the owners made what seemed like a groundbreaking offer at first glance to the players. A 50/50 split of revenue, no rollback, players would get paid for lost time and a November second start would salvage a full 82 game schedule.


With more details emerging it became clear that the deal wasn't as great as it sounded. Perhaps just the idea of hockey returning made it sound so sweet. While there was no rollback, the players still would have to make concessions in salary and benefits. fehr was not willing to accept the deal and sent a letter to players and agents explaining why.

On Thursday the two sides met again. When the players rejected the offer they brought three of their own to the table. The first two had players accepting a gradual decrease in their share of HRR eventually meeting the 50/50 split the owners are seeking. The third proposal included an immediate 50/50 split as long as the owners were willing to honor all existing contracts.  According to Donald Fehr, the owners took 12-15 minutes before shooting down all three proposals.

This outcome had many fans begin to aim their anger and blame at the players rather than Bettman. You can't help but wonder if this was Bettman's plan when the proposal was made.

With no deal made by Friday, more games were wiped off the schedule. The league announced that all games up to November 1st have been cancelled. An optimist can take solace in the fact that less than two weeks worth of games were cancelled, but if there is no headway made by next Thursday there will more games lost.

Habs And Hockey News

- Here is Donald Fehr's latest letter to the players.

- The Bulldog's defeated the Toronto Marlies 4-1 in their home opener.

- Coach K is back with another "What If?" this time focusing on life after Bettman.

- Mark Spector of Sportsnet believes that the pressure is mounting on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

- Shawn Horcoff of the Edmonton Oilers is not surprisingly unhappy with the whole situation.And after signing a huge 13 year $98 million dollar contract in the weeks leading up to the lockout, it's even less of a surprise that the Minnesota Wild's Zach Parise is less than impressed.

(Photo by Source: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images North America)

Friday, October 19, 2012

NHL and NHLPA Get Closer?, Andrei Markov, Erik Cole, More

File:NHLPA Logo.svg
Good AM!

Negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA continued yesterday with the NHLPA submitting three offers to the league.

Donald Fehr alleges that the offers allow the league to achieve a 50-50 revenue split over time, but Gary Bettman disagrees, claiming that yesterday's session was a step back.

Then again, as Renaud Lavoie at RDS points out, a lot of theatrics are involved and, in reality, both sides are getting closer.

For what it's worth, Eklund also shares the same opinion

Habs and Hockey News

- Yesterday, we had a bit of a discussion on Andrei Markov's statement that he might stay in the KHL. However, it is worth pointing out that he apparently clarified his remarks with the Montreal Gazette's Dave Stubbs.

- Eirk Cole shares his views on the latest CBA talks.

- Although some think that progress is being made in spite of the apparent theatrics, others, including Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, feel a long lockout looms. It's also worth checking out Stu Hackel and Scott Burnside's articles on yesterday's negotiation session.

- Adam Proteau of THN looks at five teams who need an amnesty buyout in the next CBA. Yes, Montreal is on his list.

- HabsWorld continues their season preview of the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NHLPA To Respond to NHL Offer, Andrei Markov May Not Return, More

Andrei Markov - Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens
Good AM!

The NHLPA is expected to respond to the NHL's latest offer this afternoon.

Many have done their best to temper the general enthusiasm over the offer. Some players still feel much work needs to be done on the current offer while our Sean Lloyd wonders if this deal is nothing more than a PR move by the league.

Either way, we will find out more as the hours unfold.

Habs and Hockey News

- Andrei Markov claims he is not sure he will return to the NHL should the lockout end. What a slap in the face that would be given the fact he is healthy for the first time in two years.

- Ken Campbell and Stu Hackel each analyze the latest offer and discuss the importance of today's events.

- Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News discusses how to make the CWHL — the Canadian Women's Hockey League — grow.

- Kyle Woodlief of USA Today argues that the upcoming draft class will be one of the deepest in decades.

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gary Bettman and the NHL's New Offer: Resolution or Ruse?

NHL Makes Major Offer To NHLPA

Thank you Mr. Bettman, you've given me a reason to write again.

I have been trying to encourage myself to write for some time now, but never ending talk of the lockout was enough to keep me away.

The player profiles kept me going at first, but the longer the lockout lasted, the tougher it became for me to write about any player's fit on a team that may not play.

After a while the idea seemed almost as silly to me as EA simulating the season and people following it as if it were real.

I don't mean to get ahead of myself, I'm writing as if the lockout has come to an end, which it hasn't. The fact that Gary Bettman and company have offered a deal that seems almost perfect doesn't necessarily guarantee anything. Because the only reason it seems so perfect is because everybody just wants NHL hockey to return.

The Offer

While I don't have all of the details of the offer, the gist of it is a 50/50 split of hockey related revenues, four year entry level contracts, free agent eligibility at 28 years old or eight years of service and a contract limit of five years. The offer also had no rollback and was aimed at a November 2nd start.

According to Bob McKenzie (via twitter), if a deal is reached, training camp would start October 26th. McKenzie also tweeted that a new deal would need to be reached by October 25th in order to salvage an 82 game schedule.

If the cards play out this way, the NHL schedule would go on as planned starting from the November second start date with minor alterations being made throughout the year. The end date would not be April 13th as planned and the Stanley cup finals would go as late as the final week of June.

Best/Worst Case Scenario

The best case scenario is quite obvious. Fehr and the players accept the offer, the 2012-13 season is put into motion and everything is back the way it should be. Unfortunately, best case scenarios are rarely the ones that unfold.

The worst case scenario would be that Gary Bettman is simply making this offer knowing the NHLPA will reject it in order to escape his position as the villain in this mess.

The main reason why it is safe to assume that this offer will be rejected is the HRR. While a 50/50 split of the revenue looks and sounds fair, the fact that there is no change in the definition of hockey related revenue will be a problem to the PA.

The 50/50 split itself shouldn't bother the players but with things such as relocation fees and expansion fees not falling under the category of hockey related revenue, the players are missing out on a lot of money.

And expansion is certainly not a farfetched concept, especially with The Hockey News recently reporting that the NHL was looking at adding two new teams.

Is The Whole Thing A Ruse?

Regardless of whether or not the NHLPA goes for this proposal, the fact that the NHL has shown a willingness to compromise on issues such as entry level contracts and free agency eligibility is a huge step in the right direction.

That at least, is the optimist's view. I try to place myself in that category but it's hard to remain fully optimistic about a league that has become known for it's lockouts.

What truly worries me is that this whole deal truly is a way for Bettman to escape the role as the villain.

Bettman created this lockout. Bettman chose not to attempt to avoid the impending lockout until it was just around the corner. Bettman erased the start of an NHL season for the third time in his tenure as league commissioner.

This does not make for a very popular man in the eyes of hockey crazed markets.

However, if/when the NHLPA rejects this offer, how can Bettman continue to be the villain in the eyes of hockey starved fans? The twitterverse is already full of comments stating that if the players don't accept this offer then they are a bunch of greedy, overpaid crybabies.

All the negative focus will shift to Donald Fehr and the players. The pressure will be off of Gary Bettman and the owners.

Part of me believes that Bettman is up to something here. However, the other part of me is willing to accept that this lack of hockey has turned me into a crazy conspiracy theorist.

How about your thoughts? Should and will the players accept the deal? If not, how far do you think the two sides remain? Is Hockey in November a true possibility?

Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at You can follow Sean on Twitter

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

NHL Makes an Offer, NHLPA Reacts, Michel Therrien, More

Good AM hockey fans!

As you likely know by now, the NHL made a significant proposal to the NHLPA yesterday.

In short, the NHL is offering a 50-50 split of Hockey Related Revenues and a full, 82-game season beginning November 2nd. TSN has more details here.

However, despite the apparent progress made with the offer, the NHLPA is not necessarily thrilled. Which, really, is not all that surprising. A seven percent decrease is still quite significant.

With any luck, though, this will get the ball rolling and we will have a full, exciting hockey season.

Habs and Hockey news

- HabsWorld enters the final phase of their prospects countdown, looking at numbers ten to six.

- Bertrand Raymond writes about Michel Therrien, who is as ready as ever for the upcoming season.

- Both Ken Campbell and Stu Hackel contemplate if the NHL's new offer and if it can salvage the season. Kevin Allen of USA Today also offers his analysis.

- Canada's National Men's Soccer Team lost 8-1 to Honduras yesterday. The team needed to win or tie the game in order to advance to the final stage of World Cup qualifying. Friggin brutal. And, yeah, I know it's not hockey.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

NHL CBA Negotiations: NHL offers 50/50 Split to NHLPA

Exactly a month to the day that this unsightly NHL lockout started, Gary Bettman and his gang of merry owners decided to make the first meaningful proposal of this tiresome bargaining process.

Yes, I know, there have been many proposals to date. But the one made today was the first meaningful one, in that it will finally move the two sides towards negotations and away from rhetoric.

The full details of the NHL's proposal to the PA have yet to be divulged, but what is clear is that the league offered a 50/50 split of Hockey Related Revenues (HRR).

That is significant simply because 50/50 is exactly where most experts expected this thing to end up once the dust had settled.

So why the sudden movement from an ownership group who seemed as resolved and entrenched as ever?

Rustling in the leaves

Despite the outward lock-step that Bettman and the owners seem to be in, there has been a lot of rumblings lately that all was not happy in paradise.

In addition, there has been word that perhaps there is a faction of NHL owners who are tired of Bettman and want him replaced. Moreover, while some are certainly prepared to sit out another season, others are not.

All of this is, of course, is based on a few pieces that were published over the last week or so, but given the sudden change in tone from the league, perhaps there is something to these stories.

My money says that there is a portion of the NHL ownership that wants to get back to playing hockey and making money. Moreover, I think this segment probably lobbied the rest and pushed Bettman towards making an uncharacteristically amenable offer to his player's union counterparts.

If you haven't seen Bettman's press conference, go check it out on

Gone is his brash arrogance. Gone is his petulance. Gone is the guy who's head shakes with disdain the moment anyone even thinks about disagreeing with him.

In his place, was a man who looked a little defeated. At least in my eyes.

But maybe I'm just reading into it.

What's next

Despite the joy erupting throughout the Twitterverse that a deal is imminent, there is still a lot of work to do. The NHLPA will surely reject the current proposal, but probably not outright.

And that's to be expected when it comes to collective bargaining. You never accept what you are always ask for more.

This is precisely why this offer is perhaps indicative of Bettman's shaky footing, coming in at exactly the number that most felt this thing would settle at, instead of higher.

When you know the other side will ask for concessions and the number you want is 50/50, wouldn't you make a proposal at, say, 52/48?

However this ends up playing out, the proposal from the league—which is contingent on playing an 82-game season starting November 2, 2012—is a starting point for true negotiations...something that we have not yet seen in this process.

My feeling is that the PA will come back with modifications, and the two sides will sit down for some lengthy sessions over the next few weeks. But, ultimately, I think that unless something comes out of the proposal that is completely obscene, the puck should be dropping on this season in early November.

And this from a guy who thought, just a week ago, that the whole season might be lost!

I will say one thing though. If the PA decides to outright reject this proposal, then I think all hope will be lost for this season and perhaps beyond.

What about you? Do you think this proposal can salvage the season?

Kamal is Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of, and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Kamal is also an on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, and LiveSport New Zealand.

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Max Pacioretty Heading Home, Tomas Plekanec,US Hall of Fame, More

Max Pacioretty - Montreal Canadiens v Vancouver Canucks
Good AM!

After a brief three week stint in Switzerland, it appears that Max Pacioretty has decided to pack up and head home. Apparently, the American power forward has been unable to play due to a flu and inflammation in his elbow.

Pacioretty had only one goal in five games with Ambri-Piotta.

Currently, the Montreal Canadiens have five other players abroad. Yannick Weber and Raphael Diaz are in the Swiss league, Andrei Markov is in Russia and the two Tomas' — Kaberle and Plekanec — are in the Czech Republic.

Of the group, Tomas Plekanec is performing best with 16 points in ten games.

Habs and Hockey News

- Speaking of Habs players, Peter Budaj remains without work and is working out in Denver.

- Mike Modano, Ed Olcyzk and Lou Lamoriello enter the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame. Over at ESPN, Scott Burnside has a piece on the recently honored Olcyzk.

- It is official: NHL players have now missed their first pay-day of 2012-13. But, as Stu Hackel points out, the owners are also bleeding some green.

(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images North America)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hamilton Bulldogs Win, Michael Bournival, Conor McDavid, More

Good AM!

Although NHL arenas are dark accross North America, the rest of the professional hockey world has begun to get their seasons underway.

The Montreal Canadiens' AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, opened the season with a 4-3 win against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Michael Bournival was a standout in the victory, providing an assist and the shootout goal.

Down a notch below, the Wheeling Nailers began with a 3-2 loss to Cincinatti and their roster is certainly quite interesting. Of note, AHL regulars Ian Schultz and Phillippe Lefebvre are currently part of the squad, although are apparently held up due to visa issues.

NHL or not, it's nice to see the hockey season get into full swing.

Habs or Hockey News

- The NHL and NHLPA are set to meet this Tuesday.

- Sidney Crosby apparently thinks very highly of Conor McDavid.

- HabsWorld discusses some issues surrounding the Hamilton Bulldogs upcoming season. Elsehwhere, the HW crew also counts down the top-five Habs' prospects as voted by the fans.

- Interesting piece on Maxim Noreau, a player who has chosen to go to Switzerland in hopes of getting an NHL gig.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

World Cup Hockey, Habs Overseas, Labour Talks To Resume And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

According to the Globe And Mail it seems that there will be a return of World Cup hockey. The article states that there is talk within the NHL, NHLPA, Hockey Canada and the IIHF of the tournament returning.

The tournament would take place every four years in February. Between the World cup and the Olympics, hockey fans would have a major international competition every second year.

The International Ice Hockey Federation is looking to make a ten to twelve year plan but is wanting a commitment from the players. It would seem the lockout is holding them back but it isn't expected to be a major problem. Once the players and the owners can figure out how to share three billion dollars, the rest should fall in to place.

The World Cup has been played onle twice with U.S.A. winning in 1996 and Canada taking it in 2004.

Habs And Hockey News

- Habs Eyes On The Prize provides weekly reports of Habs playing overseas. Here is week three.

- USA Today reports that the NHL and the NHLPA will resume talks on Tuesday, with the agenda to be decided on Monday.

- Yesterday I posted a link to part one of an interview between David Cushnan of SportsPro and NHL agent Allan Walsh. Here is part two.

- Michael Bournival scored the winning goal in a 4-3 shootout win in his Hamilton debut.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

MHT Podcasts, Return Of Salary Cap?, Quebec's New Arena And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

This past Thursday was the launch of the show and it included appearances by Chris "Knuckles" Nilan, Bobby Dollas, Rick Moffat, Eric Engels, Steven Hindle and more.

The night was a blast and it if you were unfortunate enough to miss it don't you worry, the link to the podcasts is right here.

I am trying my hardest to remain optimistic about a possible start to the 2013 NHL season but the longer the two sides go without any significant progress, the harder it is to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Last week at an editorial meeting at the Toronto Star's office, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr expressed some concern that the longer the lockout lasts, the more the players may reconsider their stance on playing under a salary cap.

If Fehr and the players decide to bring that to the table, the two sides will be as far apart as ever and the 2013 season will have to be decided by EA Sports.

Habs And Hockey News

- Here is part one of a two part interview of NHL agent Allan Walsh by David Cushnan of SportsPro

- Our own Fred Poulin did a piece at The Hockey Writers about the unveiling of Quebec City's new arena

- Donald Dufresne was looking forward to making the jump from the QMJHL to Hamilton before this whole lockout business

- Here is a sneek peek at The Last Gladiators, a documentary on the decline of the enforcer role in the NHL. The movie centers around Former Hab Chris Nilan, and is made by Oscar winning director Alex Gibney.

- Here is the Hamilton Bulldog's opening night roster for tonight's game against the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Big News at HabsAddict, Antoine Corbin, Lockout Survival, More

Happy Friday!

As you probably by know, HabsAddict and Montreal Hockey Talk are joining forces.

For me personally, I am thrilled to be under the same roof as so many writers and players I've followed over the years. I am thrilled we will be able to reach a broader audience. And I am thrilled we will be able to deliver even better content.

Plus, I've seen the new website (you know, being an editor and all, they let me touch things on occasion) and it looks absolutely amazing.

I can't wait for all of this to be revealed and hope you follow us along for the ride.

Habs and Hockey News

- Eric Engels unveils the ultimate Habs team at HockeyBuzz. I enjoy that Andrei Markov and Saku Koivu both made the squad.

- HabsWorld reports that Antoine Corbin has been signed by the Montreal Canadiens' AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs. The website also reveals the team's top prospects according to the fans.

- The NHL and the players' association concluded two days of meetings Thursday with no significant progress. Thankfully, at least Sports Illustrated was kind enough to provide us with a lockout survival guide. Apparently, this is going to last a while.

- An interesting story on the suspension of an NCAA prospect and its possible repercussions. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dominik Hasek the Best?, NHLers in Offbeat Places, CBA, More

Dominik Hasek - Detroit Red Wings v Dallas Stars - Game Six
Good AM Hockey fans!

As you know by now, yesterday, Dominik Hasek formally announced his retirement at 45 years of age.

During his career, he won a mind-boggling six Vezina trophies, three William M. Jennings trophies, two Hart trophies and two Lester B. Pearson awards. On top of that, you can add two Stanley Cup rings and an Olympic gold medal.

In short, he has a pretty strong case for being viewed as the best goaltender of all time. At the very least, he certainly was the best of his era.

Where would you rank him all time?

Habs and Hockey News

- In light of Dominik Hasek's retirement, TSN compares him to some other greats of the last generation.

- As many regular readers know, I am hugely interested in players winding up in off-beat places during the lockout. For example, Wojtek Wolski is in the Polish league while Dustin Jeffrey has found himself in the Netherlands. In any case, Stu Hackel has a piece on that very subject today.

- Vincent Damphousse has a solution for the current labor standoff.

- Rory Boylen wonders who will help broker a much-needed compromise between the NHL and NHLPA.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hamilton Bulldogs Lose, Habs Prospects, Dominik Hasek, More

Happy Monday hockey fans!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, regardless of how you chose to spend your (Canadian) Thanksgiving.

As for me, I spent the long weekend in Toronto, visiting with friends and taking in the sights.

An added bonus: the topic of how bad their sports teams are came up many times, even during a show at Second City.

Habs and Hockey News

- The Hamilton Bulldogs lost their pre-season opener to the Toronto Marlies.

- Speaking of the AHL, Stu Hackel argues that the Oklahoma City Barons — the farm team of the Edmonton Oilers — may be the best in the USA. Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz. No kidding.

- HabsWorld delivers numbers 11 to 15 in their prospect countdown.

- Talks between the NHL and NHLPA are set to resume thus week, although apparently only secondary issues will be addressed.

- Kevin Allen looks at five groups who truly deserve our sympathy during the lockout.

-  Dominik Hasek officially retires from professional ice hockey.

- The IIHF looks at the quick rise of the Korean national ice hockey program. They still have much work to do though, as they must be at least 18th in the World Rankings to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics — an event which the nation is hosting.

(Photo via Wikipedia/Agunther)

Monday, October 8, 2012

NHL'ers To Stay In Russia, Barch Rant, Best Habs D of All Time And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

First off I would like to wish a happy Thanksgiving to all of our Canadian readers and a happy Columbus day to our supporters south of the border!

And now to hockey...

The continuous departures of NHL stars overseas to play hockey can't be a good sign. While the meetings between the NHL and the NHLPA may be a good sign - considering the two sides didn't speak until mid December during the 2004 lockout - it's hardly optimistic to see so many players head elsewhere to play.

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov gave the NHL and it's fans something else to think about when he talked about how it might be tempting for Russian players to stay in Russia once the lockout eventually comes to an end.

Feeding off of this comment, Bleacher Report put out a list of ten players who may not return to the NHL if the season is cancelled.

Habs And Hockey News

- Jakub Voracek becomes the fourth NHL player to be injured while playing overseas

- Over at Avi Goldberg breaks down the recent twitter rant of NHL enforcer, Krys Barch

- begins it's new segement 5 Questions with Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman

- Kevin Allen of USA Today provides an updated day to day timeline of the NHL lockout

- And Eric Engels asks for help choosing the best Habs defensemen of all time

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lockout Good For Habs? NHLPA Can't Crack, Bulldogs Camp And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

A few weeks back I wondered aloud if the lockout could actually help the Canadiens. I figured that the Habs would have a few healthy bodies returning to the line up and added with a shortened season just maybe it could work to the Canadiens advantage.

Before I had the chance to write up on it I was struck by a huge wave of laziness. It's the same laziness that has caused me to shy away from my computer everytime I decide that I should probably put up another player profile or two.

While I'm own my own when it comes to getting my profiles back on track - I'm thinking Tuesday.... it's my Thanksgiving resolution - Steve Silverman over at the Bleacher Report wrote a piece with his views on why this lockout could help the Canadiens.

Habs And Hockey News

- Steven Ellis of AllHabs explains why the NHLPA can't afford to crack

- Dan Kramer takes a look at the 30 players remaining at the Hamilton Bulldogs training camp. Kramer (@DailyCanadiens) is an excellent follow on twitter for those who are interested on Bulldogs news and updates.

- Here's an interesting read Montreal's hidden hockey history

-  Here's a look at Habs number one pick at the 2012 draft, Alex Galchenyuk as he collects four points in last night's 6-3 win over the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Allan Walsh, Coach K's "What If's", Yesterday's Unexpected CBA Meeting And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

Yet another week has gone by without an end to the lockout and to make matters worse,the NHL regular season schedule has been cancelled up until October 24th.

With not much new being said on either side, it's interesting to see NHL player agent Allan Walsh cover the situation via twitter.

Walsh is quite possibly the most well known NHL player agent and has never shied away from sharing his thoughts through twitter.

Walsh stirred up some controversy in Montreal a few years back when he pointed out how much better Jaroslav Halak's numbers were than starting goaltender Carey Price. The comments made sense seeing as how Halak is one of Walsh's clients and, well, we all remember how each goalie did that year.

Yesterday Walsh tweeted " After spending most of the day on the phone, the one truth no one on the NHL side wants us to know- Bettman is losing control of his room". He went on to say that over the next few days he'll be sharing facts on which NHL owners don't support the lockout. According to Walsh Bettman is "feeling the heat from the owners" and is being told "we can't lose the season".

Whether you like him or hate him he's always an interesting follow on twitter (@walsha) and Toronto Star columnist Dave Feschuk wrote a piece on Walsh that is worth a read.

Habs And Hockey News

- Coach K put up an article of "What if's" over at

- Mark Ritter of The HockeyWriters wonders about the possibility of a lottery being used to determine the 2013 NHL Entry Draft

- Here is Kevin Allen of USA Today's piece on yesterday's unexpected meeting between Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and Donald and Steven Fehr

- Number 11 on the Habs Top 25 under 25 over at is Russian prospect Alexander Avtsin

- ESPN3 will be streaming at least seven KHL games starting October 9th

Friday, October 5, 2012

Habs Get a New Psychologist, NHL Games Cancelled, Hockey on TV, More

Good AM hockey fans!

As you probably, long time sports psychologist and RDS commentator Sylvain Guimond has been hired by the Montreal Canadiens to replace David Scott.

Honestly, it's nice to start a text with real news as opposed to the usual lockout mumbo-jumbo.

Speaking of psychology, Alan Bass at HockeyBuzz offers some cool insight on the consequences of over-instruction. Honestly, this guy has become one of my favorite bloggers at HB. His pieces make you see the game in a different light.

Habs and Hockey News

- It is official, but not surprising. The first two weeks of the NHL regular season have been cancelled.

- Scott Burnside argues that the players must make some concessions for the sake of the game. Conversely, Stu Hackel looks at how ownership blunders have led the game down this road.

- RDS will air games from La Tournée des Joueurs, which features Josh Gorges, Brian Gionta and Lars Eller, amongst others.

- Sportsnet and TVASports will air games from the American Hockey League.

- Ryan Kennedy of THN wonders if replacement players are an option. I certainly don't think so. There are so many replacement leagues — CHL, AHL, KHL, Europe — it is hard to imagine where worthwhile talent would come form.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Andrei Markov in KHL, Bulldogs Make Cuts, NHL Waits For NHLPA Offer, More

Andrei Markov - Montreal Canadiens v Carolina Hurricanes
Good AM Habs fans!

As has been widely reported, Andrei Markov has signed with Vityaz Chekhov of the KHL.

Naturally, this signing leads to us to the following question.

Given Markov's lengthy injury history and still uncertain health, how do you feel about him suiting up for a team other than the Montreal Canadiens?

RDS reports that Marc Bergevin is comfortable with his blueliner's choice.

What about you?

Habs and Hockey News

- The Hamilton Bulldogs have cut 14 players from their training camp including, rather surprisingly to me, Michel Ouellet, a veteran of over 190 NHL games.

- Other than Andrei Markov, quite a few players have packed their bags for Europe, including Andrew Ladd, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Matt Duchesne and Jamie Benn.

-  The NHL is still waiting for a new proposal from the NHLPA. Infamous rumor reporter Eklund has suggested that this offer may present a progressive decrease in player revenues, eventually reaching the magic 50% number. Elsewhere, Adam Proteau of THN has a one-on-one chat with Donald Fehr.

- Apparently, the reported deal between ESPN and the KHL is not finalized. At least, not yet.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Scott Gomez Denies Alaska, Tougher Bulldogs, KHL on ESPN, More

Good AM Hab fans!

Call me late to the party, but I did not realize Scott Gomez denied signing with the ECHL's Alaska Aces. After all, it's not like the team took down the press release from their website.

Too bad. Last time he was with the team in 2004-05, Gomez was named the league's MVP and, coming out of the last lockout, had his best ever NHL season.

In any case, the Alaskan team recently added Brandon Dubinsky to their training camp roster.

I'm no ECHL expert, but they are starting to look like league favorites, aren't they?

Habs and Hockey News

- Darren Dreger reports that tension between the NHL and NHLPA is rising. News like that certainly dampers my optimism.  Elsewhere, Stu Hackel contemplates whether

- Hockey Inside/Out looks at how the Hamilton Bulldogs have gotten tougher since Marc Bergevin took over.

- HabsWorld takes a look back at where Montreal Canadiens ended up during the 2004-05 lockout.

- Steven Hindle muses over how Montreal fans must possibly endure a cold, long winter without their beloved Habs.

- The KHL recently signed a US broadcast deal with ESPN. Elsewhere, Stu Hackel contemplates whether anyone will tune in to watch the KHL. My answer? No.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

French-Canadians in Hamilton, Wayne Gretzky Optimistic, CBA Talks, More

Good AM Hockey fans!

As I was peacefully dozing off last night, a thought occured to me.

Often, people complain of the lack of French-Canadian talent on the Montreal Canadiens.

But, looking at the Hamilton Bulldogs' roster, that argument really does not have much teeth.

Michael Bournival, Gabriel Dumont, Olivier Fortier, Louis Leblanc, Philippe Lefebvre, Michel Ouellet and Frederic St-Denis are all players who can reasonably expect to crack the Bulldogs' roster this year.

To boot, four of the aforementioned own NHL experience, joining Habs' regulars Francis Bouillon and David Desharnais in that category.

In short, perhaps it is time that complaint be put to bed, don't you think?

Habs and Hockey News

- Wayne Gretzky says he is optimistic that the NHL - NHLPA dispute will be resolved by January 1st. Talks between both sides resume today. Do you share his positive outlook?

- The Hockey News' Ken Campbell comments on recent issues, including ownership and Krys Barch's comments.

- Following up on an old story from this summer, some Sault Ste. Marie greyhounds were facing sexual assault charges but now it seems their court date has been pushed back. USA Today has more.

- Finally, a bit of humor for your Tuesday. This video shows a classic goal celebration go hilariously wrong.

Monday, October 1, 2012

NHL - NHLPA Talks Conclude, Andrei Markov Speaks, Habs Prospects, More

Good AM Hab fans!

This morning, I want to touch on a point I made in an earlier post.

As you know, the NHL and NHLPA met for three consecutive days this weekend, albeit mostly addressing more minor issues.

Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it can be a good way to build momentum and progress.

But why do these sessions always seem to end in early afternoon? Can they not last into the evening? Is there absolutely no urgency in these talks?

Many people no longer work a traditional 9-to-5 schedule. I don't know why these negotiations seem to.

Habs and Hockey News

- On the topic of this weekend's negotiations, Katie Strang of ESPN has a good report on some of the frustration felt by both sides. Elsewhere, Stu Hackel looks at some of the small gains made during the weekend.

- There is strong competition at the Hamilton Bulldogs' camp, which features a record 44 players. Not only are many players making the jump from junior, but the organization included a significant amount of invites.

- Hockey Inside/Out has a one-on-one chat with Andrei Markov.

- HabsWorld counts down prospects 20 to 16 in their annual list. 

- Evegeni Malkin is tearing up the KHL.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)